Sara Hartigan was at a pre-game function in Auckland on Saturday when she heard a “commotion” happening outside.
She described hearing screams as 56-year-old Dean Herewini suffered a heart attack at the wheel of his car.
“I went outside and I could see someone slumped in the car,” she told Newstalk Breakfast.
“His daughter was there and she was upset. People were trying to call an ambulance, so I just went over to help.
“Nobody was really going into the car. Obviously, anybody that was on the scene was pretty shocked at the time.
“So, I just reacted. I just jumped in and started to do compressions. I tried to see could we get him out of the car but the way the car was set we really couldn’t have managed that so yeah, I just got the seat back as best we could and just gave the compressions.”
Ms Hartigan said that Mr Herewini regained consciousness “pretty fast” after she performed CPR.
“It was probably about a minute or two – I was pretty tired after it. There was no kiss of life; there was just compressions on his chest.
“My first thought was ‘I need to do something’ because nobody seemed to be doing anything for him... It was just one of those, whether it was going to work or not, someone had to try.”
She said that she hopes her experience highlights the experience of learning basic first aid and CPR.
“It’s overwhelming what’s happened during the week because I’m not one to be standing up going, oh look at me – I wouldn’t be looking to get any credit for this or anything,” she said.
“The most important thing is bringing awareness to how important this is. Even the basics can save a life. You don’t need to know a whole amount about CPR to help.
“I know the percentage of people surviving outside a hospital is pretty low, but this just proves that it can be done. That basic compressions on a chest can get somebody back to get them to the right place where they can be looked after.
“So, it’s just the best feeling and I have friends for life now so it is amazing.”
The brother of Mr Herewini, from Waikato, said that his family are “very lucky that someone like that just jumped into it and did what she did.”
"You read about these things. You see them on TV but when you experience it first-hand it's incredible. We're so humble and grateful.”